Love ’em or hate ’em, there is no denying that Harley-Davidson has been in the business of building top-notch, full-dress baggers for many moons. In an effort to maintain that reputation, Harley has taken the unusual step of collecting customer feedback and actually engineering rider requests for practical use as part of its Project Rushmore initiative. The 2015 CVO Limited is a rolling display of nearly every bell, whistle, gee-gaw and whimmy-diddle Harley engineers could hang on it, and it shows that a bike can be both rooted in tradition, and still show a progressive bent.

Continue reading for my review of the 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited.

  • 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™
  • Transmission:
    6-speed
  • Torque @ RPM:
    115
  • Energy:
    Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
  • Displacement:
    109 cubic inches
  • Price:
    39349

Design

2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited Exterior
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What can I say, it’s a Harley dresser — big and heavy, with rolls of “fat” hanging off it. Almost the entire bike, except the engine and transmission, is shrouded with sheet metal (or plastic, whatever). The Batwing fairing, windshield and lowers provide just about as much protection as one can reasonably expect from an unenclosed vehicle, and the fairing comes with the Project Rushmore-inspired “Splitstream” vent that reduces head buffeting to reduce rider fatigue. A comfortable saddle and rider backrest help to ease (or prevent) the pain of long trips, and the passenger backrest and armrests help contain your riding partner in something approaching luxury. (Luxury is a relative term, and subject to taste.)

The word of the day here is Infotainment. Ensconced within the inner-front fairing is the 6.5-inch, full-color, touch-screen rider interface that controls the “Boom! Box” 6.5GT radio complete with Audio SiriusXM Satellite Radio and USB/Bluetooth capability for a “virtual jukebox” function, if you like to carry your own playlists on a mobile device. A total of four, 6.5-inch “Boom! Bagger” speakers ensure that you can hear your tunes at speed.

Chassis

2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited Exterior
- image 611361

The factory went with big, 49 mm front forks to stiffen the front end, and control front-end dive when you grab a fistful of brakes to control this 944-pound (curb weight) monster. Folks, that’s a lot of weight, especially when you add a rider, passenger and cargo in the 30.2-gallon storage capacity offered by the saddlebags and “Tour-pak,” a fact not lost on H-D.

At 102.4-inches long overall, the CVO Limited is one long ride.

In the interest of control, the engineers went with 32 mm, four-piston, Brembo calipers on both ends under the management of the “Reflex” Linked Brakes with ABS for added confidence when you need to make an abrupt stop, or operate in poor riding conditions.

At 102.4-inches long overall, the CVO Limited is one long ride. The steering head angle is set to 26 degrees, leaving it with a 64-inch wheelbase and 6.7 inches of trail. Bottom line here is it handles as you would expect. Big, heavy, stiff in the corners, but with over 33 degrees of lean angle available before you throw sparks, so although it may not feel very willing in the turns, it will actually carve better than my Sporty by a considerable margin.

Drivetrain

2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited Exterior
- image 611365

Ok folks, the table is set, now for the pièce de résistance. H-D used its most powerful engine yet to drive this ride. The Twin-Cooled, Twin Cam 110 engine cranks out a stump pulling, 115.1 pound-feet of torque at a mere 3,750 rpm that gives this engine the fastest 60 to 80 mph, fifth-gear roll-on of any H-D engine.

The Twin-Cooled, Twin Cam 110 engine cranks out a stump pulling, 115.1 pound-feet of torque at a mere 3,750 rpm.

Air ducts in the heads help to remove waste heat from the exhaust-valve area for an extra layer of protection against heat-related damage, and increased performance. This engine is yet another Rushmore product, and for me, it’s the best feature to come out of the Project so far. Big and beautiful, with the unmistakable, 45-degree, V-twin shape all wrapped in chrome and black wrinkle paint. What’s not to love?

The engine aspirates through the “Ventilator” intake that comes stock with a high-flow, low-resistance air filter, and an electronic sequential port fuel injection system delivers precisely metered fuel charges to the engine. Even though the engine has a relatively low compression ratio of 9.2 to 1, the designers felt it necessary to add an automatic compression release function that bleeds off some of the cylinder pressure for easier starts – I am sure they had their reasons.

A six-speed, constant mesh transmission and belt final drive quietly convert engine power to “roundy-roundy” at the rear wheel, and the gear ratio gives us 41 mpg and low cruising rpm at highway speed. All the better to hear your "Boom! Box," yes?

Price

Sticker shock on this ride is rather severe. At $39,349 MSRP, it is well outside entry-level range, but then, it isn’t an entry-level bike, is it. You can get this sled shot in Palladium Silver/Typhoon Maroon, Carbon Dust/Charcoal Slate or Gold Rush/Carbon Dust, the all new, two-tone custom colors for the 2015 model year, or go with Orange, Blue, Brown, Green, Gray, Purple or Red.

Competitors

2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited Exterior
- image 611362

The CVO Limited is beset by competition from all quarters. BMW brings pressure from across the pond with its K 1600 GTL Exclusive, while U.S. manufacturer Victory Motorcycles attacks on the home front with its Vision Tour model.

Beemer comes out swinging with an awesome inline-six engine that cranks out a soul-crushing 129 pound-feet of torque versus 115.1 from the H-D and 108 from the Victory, placing the Bavarians squarely on top as far as torque is concerned.

As far as aesthetics go, I personally like the looks of the H-D better than the angular looks of the Beemer, or the somewhat “ladybug-ish” vibe that the Victory exudes (the only thing missing are the black spots). However, much like so many things, beauty is very subjective.

Unlike beauty, however, price is more tangible. Victory comes out on top here (or bottom, if you like) with a relatively low price of $20,999. The Beemer comes in second at $29,995 and the Harley swings for the bleachers with a staggering $39,349 sticker. But let’s be honest, if you are looking for a brand-new, full dress bagger, you already know it’s going to hurt the wallet, and “pain” is also subjective.

He Said

“I’ve been a fan of H-D baggers since the late ’80s, once Harley settled in with the then-new, 80 cubic-inch Evo motor. While I have no illusions that I will ever be willing to pay for a new one, I admit that I openly and unashamedly lust after just such a ride. A guy can dream, can’t he?”

She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I love these Project Rushmore bikes. The innovations and enhancements borne from rider and passenger inputs make these bikes a dream to ride and even more so in the luxurious CVO line. As a passenger, I like having floorboards instead of pegs and I like the way the backrest and armrests cradle and contain me. It’s comfortable and I can take a nap without worrying about falling off the pillion. I’m a bit in sticker shock over the price, however. That shouldn’t surprise me since Harley’s are usually more expensive than their competitors are. I just have a hard time spending $40,000 on something I can’t live in. A price this high on a motorcycle says, "mid-life crisis" to me. If you’re going to freak out and have a mid-life crisis, though, a Project Rushmore CVO bike is the one to get."

Specifications

Engine: Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™
Bore: 4 Inches
Stroke: 4.374 Inches
Displacement: 109.9 cubic inches
Compression Ratio: 9.2 to 1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Engine Torque Testing Method: J1349
Engine Torque: 115.1 pound-feet at 3,750 rpm
Lean Angle, Right: 34.3 degrees
Lean Angle, Left: 33.4 degrees
Fuel Economy: Combined City/Hwy: 41 Mpg
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 Ratio
Gear Ratios (Overall) 1st: 9.593
Gear Ratios (Overall) 2nd: 6.65
Gear Ratios (Overall) 3rd: 4.938
Gear Ratios (Overall) 4th: 4.0
Gear Ratios (Overall) 5th: 3.407
Gear Ratios (Overall) 6th: 2.875
Exhaust: Chrome Dual Exhaust With four-Inch Touring Mufflers And Touring Muffler Shields
Wheels, Front Type: Mirror Chrome Slicer Custom Wheel
Wheels, Rear Type: Mirror Chrome Slicer Custom Wheel
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 Mm, four-Piston Fixed Front And Rear
Length: 102.4 Inches
Seat Height, Laden: 28.4 Inches
Seat Height, Unladen: 29.1 Inches
Ground Clearance: 5.3 Inches
Rake (Steering Head): 26 degrees
Trail: 6.7 Inches
Wheelbase: 64 Inches
Tires, Front Specification: BW 130/80B17 65H
Tires, Rear Specification: BW 180/65B16 81H
Fuel Capacity: 6 Gallons
Oil Capacity (W/Filter): 4 Quarts
Weight, As Shipped: 909 Pounds
Weight, In Running Order: 944 Pounds
Luggage Capacity -Volume: 30.2 Gallons
Infotainment:
Screen:
Size: 6.5 Inches
Type: Color
Color Choices: Orange (Default), Blue, Brown, Green, Gray, Purple, Red
Day/Night Dimmer: Standard
Audio Output:
Watts Per Channel: 75
Speakers: 4
Speaker Size: 6.5-Inch Bass Port Rear Speakers Standard
Distortion (THD): 1 percent
Internal Amp: Standard
External Amp: Standard
Wired Headset: Standard
Headset Specifications (If Equipped): 16 to 64 Ohms
Audio Sources:
AM: Standard
FM: Standard
Weather Band (WB): Standard
MP3 - USB Connection: Supported
SD Card - Via USB Connection: Supported
Flash Drive - Via USB Connection: Supported
Audio Setup:
CB Presets: 6
AM Presets: 6
FM Presets: 15
IPod Device Presets: 20.0
USB-Storage Device Presets: 20.0
WB Presets: 6
Media Player Device Presets: 20
Global Presets: Selectable, Up To 20 Presets
Favorites: 1 FAV Hardkey Plus 6 Favorites
Classic Mode: Selectable
Seek/Scan: Standard
Interface Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Voice Recognition: Hands-Free Mobile Phone - Via Bluetooth Standard
Voice Recognition Languages: Phone Functions Only: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Communication:
Rider/Passenger Intercom: Standard
Other Features:
"Vehicle Information Screen (Air Temperature, Oil Pressure And Engine Temperature)": Standard
Software Update Via USB Interface: Standard
Text-To-Speech (TTS) Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
USB: USB/MTP/IPod/IPhone
Bluetooth Phone/Media: Supported
Lights (As Per Country Regulation), Indicator Lamps: High Beam, Running Lights, Front Fender Running Lights, Directional Lights, Neutral, Low Oil Pressure, Engine Diagnostics, Accessory, Speakers, Turn Signals, Security System,Gear Indication, Battery, Low Fuel Warning, Cruise Control, ABS, Miles To Empty Display, Fog/Aux Lamp Indicator
Gauges: 10 percent Larger Speedometer And Tachometer With 68 percent Wider Numbers; 28 percent Larger Fuel And Volt Gauges With 30 percent Wider Numbers; Display Features Odometer, Trip A, Trip B, Range To Empty And Gear Indicator; And Larger Tell-Tale Indicators
Price: Custom Color Option $39,349
What do you think?
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